Award Categories & Descriptions
Olmsted Award – Leadership and Vision
Hill Award – Inspiration
Drury Award – Professional Integrity
Drury is most remembered for his career-long dedication to resource preservation and his tenacious, but always extraordinarily diplomatic, defense against both internal and external threats to state and national parks. Drury believed that the park movement was “a high calling . . . a thing of the spirit,” an essential part of the nation’s sanity and health as well as a gauge of our national dignity. He realized that when short-term political pressure threatens to destroy long-term park values, park professionals must speak out for both present and future generations. As Drury said, “The people have a right to use the parks, but no one generation has a right to use them up.” Drury’s legacy to our Department is this reminder of our continuing responsibility to protect park resources for the long term.
Mott Award – Innovation
Mott moved the California State Park System into the forefront of the park movement by accomplishing a number of “firsts.” He reorganized the California Division of Beaches and Parks into the California Department of Parks and Recreation; he established the nation’s first ranger-training facility, the nation’s first automated campsite-reservation program, and the first underwater park. He also developed a comprehensive statewide master plan for state parks, created the State Parks Foundation, established the first publicly owned off-highway vehicular recreation areas, and gave formal recognition to state park volunteers as essential partners of the State Park System. Mott continually challenged park professionals to find new and exciting ways to respond to change and accomplish our mission.
Dewitt Award – Partnership
Dewitt served as an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior through four administrations. In January 1995, the John B. Dewitt Grove was established in Redwood National Park. He was also the recipient of the first California State Parks Partnership Award, later renamed in his honor, for a private person who made outstanding contributions to the California State Park System.
Dewitt joined the staff of Save the Redwoods League as Assistant Secretary in 1964; he became its third Secretary and Executive Director in 1978, succeeding Newton B. Drury. This award recognizes commitment above and beyond the normal call of duty over a substantial period of time. Realizing that we cannot “do it alone,” the Department presents this award to those who have served as irreplaceable partners in the accomplishment of our mission.
The Ingenuity Award was established in 2000 in recognition of the many park professionals who distinguish themselves through their hands-on creativity in addressing park problems. The first recipient was Park Maintenance Worker Andre Laxague, who combined his welding skills and his imagination to develop bear-proof food storage lockers and trash cans. Each year, similar contributions are made by other park professionals who demonstrate both craftsmanship and a “can-do!” attitude.
Year Round Awards - Special Commendation and Special Act/Service
The Special Commendation Award is given to an individual or team that makes a significant contribution toward the accomplishment of the mission and goals of the Department. Efforts recognized by this certificate stand above the norm, are substantial in impact, and worthy of recognition at the Director’s level.
The Special Act or Special Service Award is given for an extraordinary act of heroism by a Department employee extending far above the normal call of duty or service performed at great risk to his/her own safety or life, in an effort to save human life and/or property.
The Volunteer Medallion is awarded to an individual volunteer or team of volunteers that makes a significant contribution toward the mission and goals of the Department. Efforts recognized by this medallion should be substantial in impact and worthy of recognition at the Director's level. Generally, volunteer efforts should first be recognized at the district/section level or with the Poppy Award prior to nominatin for the medallion.